05/12/2008, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Dhakha plans to deprive of all influence the women elected to the local governments

The law that provided for "pink quotas" of 40% of the seats in the local governments has been abolished; now efforts will be made to put the women elected in a position "inferior" to that of elected men. Even though the Supreme Court has affirmed the contrary.

Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) - After the violent protests of the Islamic extremists, the government has "revised" the law that reserved for women 40% of the seats in the local governments.  This decree prompted widespread protests, and the committee of the ulemas (Muslim scholars) on April 17 condemned the provision as contrary to the Qur'an, and called for its revision.  On April 24 the request was accepted, with the elimination of reserved seats for women in the local governments.

Meanwhile, however, 14,500 women have already been elected to reserved seats in various local agencies.  Now a newly proposed law stipulates that, after the election of the local parliament, the parliamentarians themselves would nominate a number of women equal to one third of the seats.  Each woman appointed in this way would therefore be an "extra" official with respect to parliament, and would share authority with the three members directly elected by the people, with the great risk of being marginalised and deprived of influence.  In fact, it is a reaffirmation of the subordinate position of women in the country, justified by a particular interpretation of the Qur'an and of the Sunnah.

But a judgment from the high court of justice has reaffirmed that the women already elected must have powers equal to those of the other representatives.

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